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To succeed, you must lead, not merely survive
IBM’s rise, fall and dramatic evolution is one of the most studied cases in B-schools around the world. More than just the facts around its rise, fall and evolution, what really stands out are two key facets that underpinned its dramatic turnaround – and in these lie very important lessons for us in the money management and financial advisory business, as we grapple with rapid change just the way IBM did in its IT business years ago.

Smart strategy wins back market leadership position
Success is never permanent and there is always competition fighting to take your spot. So how does one battle a position that was lost? Looking at the toothpaste wars in the US can give us some lessons.

If a bank is serious about dealing with mis-selling, read this
The growth of Domino’s Pizza into an international giant has been well chronicled, as has its “30 minute delivery challenge”. But, one story about Domino’s that’s perhaps less known but deserves to be better known, is the story of its “Oh yes, we did” campaign back in 2010. And in this story lies an important lesson for large financial distribution powerhouses in India who have been reporting significant growth in their insurance and investments selling businesses, but perhaps have to contend with a problem at its core – and the lesson from Domino’s can be a very useful guide on exactly how to do this.

Timely message for our industry from this sole survivor
A little over 2 decades ago, 8 brave new companies set out to create the cellular mobile phone industry in India. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds in these 2 decades, beyond the wildest imaginations of any market participant. One would imagine that these 8 companies would have become wildly successful, having the priceless advantage as early entrants in the biggest growth industry our country has witnessed in the last 2 decades. Strangely though, only one of those original 8 is still around – and has maintained its leadership position in the industry through all the ups and downs the industry has seen.

Could this be the next step of evolution for financial intermediaries?
Many businesses have been built by offering more convenience to customers. Many businesses have grown by constantly innovating on the convenience platform to stay a step ahead of competition. But often, there comes a time when just convenience is not good enough – when convenience gets commoditized by technology. What do you then do?

Useful case study for NDs, RDs and bank distributors
Walgreens – the iconic century old US pharmacy chain, with drugstores across the length and breadth of the US, is a great example of how it successfully evolved from a hyper efficient top-down management style to a bottom-up focused one, in response to the evolving competitive landscape and changing consumer needs.

The Evolve series of articles in Wise Advice usually features inspirational stories of businesses that successfully navigated winds of change and wisely evolved with times, to not only remain relevant, but indeed grow stronger. This is a story with a difference: it’s a story of a business that led change for years, that kept raising the bar over the years which competition found hard to keep pace with. Yet, it failed.

Change: yes. But what? Your business model or your customers?
You have a product or an advisory proposition that attracts a segment of customers. You build your business around it, and expand your team significantly, to serve these customers. Then all of a sudden, competition emerges which makes your proposition look unattractive to these customers. You lose 60% of your business almost overnight. What then should you do? How should you evolve your business model? Change your model to try and remain relevant to these customers or try to find new customers?

FMCG multinational provides valuable insights for our business
The Gillette story has rich lessons for the Indian financial intermediation business – which is unable as yet to convince a majority of affluent savers of the benefits of paid-for premium offerings including comprehensive financial planning and wealth management on the one hand, and find ways of appealing to the huge mass of rural and semi-urban retail savers who continue to remain indifferent to market linked investment products and solutions.

On time, every time: great lessons for financial advisors
The airlines business is regarded as one of the most difficult businesses to be in – hardly anybody ever makes money in it – not just in India, but across the world. Yet, one airline company in India has gone from strength to strength, increasing market share and profits at an envious pace.

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